Seven students win 2023 Spirit of Princeton Award for service, contributions to campus life

May 8, 2023

Seven students have been named winners of the 2023 Spirit of Princeton Award, honoring Princeton University undergraduates for positive contributions to campus life. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the undergraduate experience through dedicated efforts in student organizations, athletics, community service, religious life, residential life and the arts.The selection committee received over 200 letters of nomination on behalf of outstanding undergraduate students. The Spirit of Princeton Award is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and has been given annually since 1995.

The recipients of the 2023 Spirit of Princeton award are:

Emilio Cano Renteria, a senior from Bethesda, Maryland, majoring in civil and environmental engineering and pursuing certificates in statistics and machine learning, applications of computing, and sustainable energy. He is the former president of club soccer, recruitment chair for Orange Key tour guides and a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. In addition to his involvement in student activities, he is a Whitman College peer academic adviser, practice player with the women’s varsity soccer team, and leader of the Latinx Affinity Group for Tiger Inn.

Ryan “CC” Champeau, a senior from Rumson, New Jersey, majoring in the School of Public and International Affairs and pursuing a certificate in cognitive science. She is an active member of Whitman College, serving as a residential college adviser and chair of the college council. Champeau is a 2023 Class Day chair, Community Action leader, and an active member of club golf, scholars of finance, and Princeton correspondents on undergraduate research. Beyond Princeton, she is a devoted volunteer with the Princeton Young Achievers program at the Princeton YMCA.

Hannah Kapoor, a senior from Parkland, Florida, majoring in the School of Public and International Affairs and pursuing a certificate in technology and society. She is the former vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government and a community action leader. She has served as the president of the Princeton University Press Club, a student representative on the resources committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC), and a peer academic adviser for Forbes College. She also serves on the mental health resources working group, supporting mental health and wellness initiatives for students.

Aaron Leung, a senior from Toronto, Ontario, majoring in operations research and financial engineering and pursuing certificates in applications of computing, engineering and management systems, and statistics and machine learning. He is a member of the varsity men’s heavyweight rowing team, digital advertising lead with the Daily Princetonian, and artistic director with Theatre Intime. He has served as the Undergraduate Student Life Committee Chair in the Undergraduate Student Government, in addition to serving on the Campus and Community Affairs committee. Leung is also actively involved in service to the community: He is a Service Focus fellow, Community Action leader, and a volunteer with STEM to Stern and Special Olympics Rowing.

Mutemwa Masheke, a senior from Lusaka, Zambia, majoring in computer science. He is a residential college adviser in Butler College and is part of the Butler College Council. Masheke is a fellow with the Office of Campus Engagement, and has served as vice president of Princeton African Students Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of African Internationals at Princeton. In addition to his student organization involvement, he serves on advisory boards for the Council on Science and Technology, the Africa Summit at Princeton and undergraduate housing.

Alexander Mrkalj, a senior from St. Catherines, Ontario, majoring in economics and pursuing a certificate in entrepreneurship. He is a captain of the varsity men’s volleyball team, a student athlete wellness leader, and the former athletics liaison to the Undergraduate Student Government. He serves on the steering committee of Men’s Allied Voices for a Respectful and Inclusive Community (MAVRIC) and as a facilitator of Strength in Coaching on Relationships, Respect and Equality (SCORRE). He is also a startup founder with the Keller Center and former president of Cannon Dial Elm Club.

Serena Starks, a senior from Huntington Beach, California, majoring in the School of Public and International Affairs and pursuing a certificate in Asian American studies. She is a captain of the varsity softball team, founder of Asian Student Athletes at Princeton, is a student athlete wellness leader, and has served as an athlete orientation leader. Starks is a past president of Princeton Disability Awareness and outreach chair of Service Focus. She is also a member of the Student-Athlete Service Council, a tutor with the Pace Center’s Academic Success Today and a volunteer with Best Buddies New Jersey.